Yiddish in Israel: A History challenges the commonly held view that Yiddish was suppressed or even banned by Israeli authorities for ideological reasons, offering instead a radical new interpretation of the interaction between Yiddish and Israeli Hebrew cultures. Author Rachel Rojanski tells the compelling and yet unknown story of how Yiddish, the most widely used Jewish language in the pre-Holocaust world, fared in Zionist Israel, the land of Hebrew. Following Yiddish in Israel from the proclamation of the State until today, Rojanski reveals that although Israeli leadership made promoting Hebrew a high priority, it did not have a definite policy on Yiddish. The language's varying fortune through the years was shaped by social and political developments, and the cultural atmosphere in Israel. Public perception of the language and its culture, the rise of identity politics, and political and financial interests all played a part. Using a wide range of archival sources, newspapers, and Yiddish literature, Rojanski follows the Israeli Yiddish scene through the history of the Yiddish press, Yiddish theater, early Israeli Yiddish literature, and high Yiddish culture. With compassion, she explores the tensions during Israel's early years between Yiddish writers and activists and Israel's leaders, most of whom were themselves Eastern European Jews balancing their love of Yiddish with their desire to promote Hebrew. Finally Rojanski follows Yiddish into the 21st century, telling the story of the revived interest in Yiddish among Israeli-born children of Holocaust survivors as they return to the language of their parents.
In Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin, Marc Caplan explores the reciprocal encounter between Eastern European Jews and German culture in the days following World War I. By concentrating primarily on a small group of avant-garde Yiddish writers—Dovid Bergelson, Der Nister, and Moyshe Kulbak—working in Berlin during the Weimar Republic, Caplan examines how these writers became central to modernist aesthetics. By concentrating on the character of Yiddish literature produced in Weimar Germany, Caplan offers a new method of seeing how artistic creation is constructed and a new understanding of the political resonances that result from it. Yiddish Writers in Weimar Berlin reveals how Yiddish literature participated in the culture of Weimar-era modernism, how active Yiddish writers were in the literary scene, and how German-speaking Jews read descriptions of Yiddish-speaking Jews to uncover the emotional complexity of what they managed to create even in the midst of their confusion and ambivalence in Germany. Caplan's masterful narrative affords new insights into literary form, Jewish culture, and the philosophical and psychological motivations for aesthetic modernism.
The Yiddish Queen Lear New York in the late 1930s: a once-famous Yiddish actress gives her theatre business over to her three daughters. The Yiddish Queen Lear is a story of love, infedelity, betrayal and exile, which examines the moment when Jewish East European and American cultures mix, on the eve of the Holocaust. Both a free reworking of Shakespeare’s King Lear and a homage to the lost world of Yiddish theatre, The Yiddish Queen Lear is a vibrant, funny and tragic study of the clashes and connections between two very different worlds. "This play is an affecting and electic treat." Evening Standard (The Yiddish Queen Lear) Woman In The Moon Set in the United States, England and Germany, between 1920 and 2001, Woman In The Moon is a dream play inspired by both the legend of Faust and the testimonies of French, Austrian and German survivors from Camp Dora. It explores the connections between the US space programme, the V1 and V2 bombers, and the slave labour in the Third Reich. "Brave, intelligent and desperately moving." The Guardian (Woman In The Moon)